Rally To Make Higher Education More Accessible Held At State House

Photo: Madison Rogers (WBZ)

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Educators, students, and labor activists rallied at the State House in support of making public education more accessible Wednesday.

The Higher Ed for All Coalition gathered in the rain on Beacon Hill, calling on legislators to pass two bills for the upcoming budget: the debt free public college bill and the CHERISH Act.

The CHERISH Act would result in more than $600 million in additional funding for public higher education; establish a minimum funding level for public higher education at no less than FY01 per-student funding level, adjusted for inflation; and freeze tuition and fees increases at public colleges and universities for five years, as long as the state meets its funding commitment each year during the implementation period.

"We need to go back to the days when a student could work during the summer in part time and pay all of their tuition," American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts President Beth Kontos said.

"We need to modernize and make our buildings healthy. We need to start tackling the mountain of debt that our campuses have accrued," said Salem State University professor Joanna Gonsalves.

Senator Jamie Eldridge is confident that the two bills will make it through this legislative session.

"We have underinvested for well over four decades in public higher education, this is unacceptable," Eldridge said. "This is the session we’re gonna begin to see major investments in public higher education."

WBZ's Madison Rogers (@MadisonWBZ) reports.

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